The Last of Us Part 2 is a gigantic, sprawling epic of a game, stretching across nearly half the US in a tale of revenge and redemption. Recently, an ex-Naughty Dog level designer broke down Joel and Ellie's museum section of the game, revealing the painstaking work that went into building the level over the course of two years.
The deep dive is with level designer Evan Hill, conducted in an interview by Mark Brown of Game Maker's Toolkit. Over the course of roughly 15 minutes, Hill breaks down the level bit by bit, going into extensive details about how the section was first made using a 3D modelling tool, to the interactions with the T-rex statue and more. It's a really excellent look at the work that went into the single level, and one designer's work on a massive game.
Near the end of the interview, Brown asks Hill roughly how long the entire sequence took to build from scratch and perfect. "Pretty much two solid years," says Hill. "Pretty much the big secret for all Naughty Dog level design is just iteration and work. We have some fundamentals but there were some levels in this game that were redone about 25 times." Hill expands upon the timeline of making the level, saying that his responsibilities shifted throughout development, starting on working on a 3D model of the level, to working with narrative leads Neil Druckmann and Halley Gross, to overseeing production of the level.
I'd highly recommend watching the full interview with Hill. It's a must-watch if you've played through The Last of Us Part 2 and, like me, have spent a whole lot of time pondering the game since you finished it. It might just be a snapshot of the entire game, but it's a really in-depth dive into the production process behind a single level.
If you're still making your way through Naughty Dog's epic, you can head over to our complete Last of Us Part 2 walkthrough guide for help. For an alternative glimpse into the making of the game, a Naughty Dog talent coordinator recently shared a look at how the intimidating Rat King boss was made using motion capture.